31 August 2011


I started running long distances in 2000. Only sporadically and really only to get in shape. But the longer I ran, the more I enjoyed it. It was a time to think, process, get away, feel good about myself- and get in shape. It was a win-win situation. In 2004 I discovered that I truly loved running. I started running regularly, keeping particular paces, and training for long distance runs. 2004 was also the year that I ran my first half marathon.

To say I loved it would be an understatement. I have never used drugs, but I liken the pull on my body, mind and soul to run more to the desperate need for the next fix- whatever the cost. I couldn't get running out of my head. The week after that first race I got an index card and drew an American flag on the background. In big black permanent marker I wrote '2012' across the middle. I hung it on my mirror for years after that. Why? Because I was determined that I would run in the 2012 Olympics. My event? The marathon.

To me it made perfect sense; I had done my research. Christine Clark won the US Olympic trails in 2000 with a time of 2 hours and 33 minutes. She was a 37 year old mother of two who had only recently picked up running. She only trained on her treadmill. She ran in the Sydney Olympics. Another example, Ingrid Kristiansen. At one time she held the world record for the 5,000 meter, 10,000 meter, half marathon and full marathon. She has won the London marathon 4 times, the Boston marathon 2 times and the New York marathon once. She picked up running late in life and often trained on a treadmill. If they could do it so could I right?

Or so I told myself.

It is now nearly September in 2011. The Olympics trails have come and gone for 2012. In case you were wondering, I did not make the Olympic team. Between 2004 when I first put my Olympic sign up and now, I have run over 1,500 miles in races and many times that in training. Between the 5K's, 10K's, 15K's, half and full marathons I have covered a lot of ground. But it is not the miles run, but how well you run those miles.

Did I run those miles well enough to be a marathon runner in the 2012 London Olympics? No. Did I do any of those miles well? Sure. At one point I was running somewhere between 8-12 miles a day at 7.30 minute miles. But it wasn't done well enough, consistently enough. and that has me thinking.

Do I 'do' life well?

I am a goals type person; I like making far reaching lists full of big dreams and slightly unrealistic goals. But what do I actually do in my everyday life to try and achieve them? Do I spend my time well, being intentional or do I simply plod along taking the easy way out? Just as I would traing for a marathon, I need to be training my mind and body to be disciplined and faithful to God, my family and my surrounding. But am I?

Ummm.... probably not. I wouldn't go so far as to say that I am lazy, but I am not brilliant with time management. It sounds nicer when I say it that way- time management. I get distracted easily and end up more often that not putting time and energy into the wrong things. I am doing things, doing life, but just like those miles I ran, I am not doing them well.

God does not call us to perfection. But he does call us to be content and have a grateful heart. God is not disappointed with me because I am not part of the 2012 Olympic team. But am I pleasing God when I constantly complain about my living situation? or when I wallow in my self pity because I want a situation to work out differently? I am still doing life, I am just not doing it well. In theory 8 years would have been enough time to train, run, compete and make it to the Olympics. But it wouldn't have mattered it I had 8 years or 18 years. I was never going to truly run well enough to make it.

I dont want that to be my life. I dont want to look back in another 8 years and think 'hmm....that didn't go so well' I can make choices to think positively and be grateful, even when things are not always as pleasant or perfect as I think they ought to be. I can make the choice to learn discipline, to practice discipline and to actually live my days out well. I could probably make a choice to try and run a little better too. I tried to run today and could barely make it 2 miles! Man, I am out of shape. and in the grand scheme of life, that is ok. I dont have to be a marathon runner to live a contented, God seeking life. But I do have to have commitment and dedication to Christ to live a contented, God seeking life. Settling for the mediocre wont cut it. Only running well part of the time is not good enough.

I have no real conclusion to this. Only some thoughts brought on by some time spent at the pool today. I went with a new friend and her boys. I may have only known her for a few months but she has become such a dear friend to my heart. Instead of fully enjoying my time, i was grumpy. and mopey, and wallowing a bit in the unfortunate-ness of some of my circumstances. There was no gratefulness of where I was at that moment. No little whispers of praise for a wonderful friend. just grumpy. Thankfully my friend is wonderful and she understood. we will hang out again. But it got me thinking.

I need to practice living well. not some of the time, or when it is easy, or when I feel like it. But all the time. If only it were as easy to do as it is to type out! And who knows, maybe the Olympics are still in my future. Christine Clark was 37- that gives me another 8 years to train! and train well.

30 August 2011


This is Tesco.

To be exact, this is a picture of the Tesco that I frequented for the years I lived in London. For those unfamiliar with Tesco, it is the British equivalent of Walmat. There are some major differences- at Walmat you can get your oil changed while you grocery shop and buy at gun complete with ammunition. At Tesco you are pretty much limited to food, clothes and gardening tools. But they share the concept of large, super store with long hours.

I love Tesco. Yes, love.

(the above is a picture of the Tesco in Merythr, the one I used when we lived in Wales)

Today I went to Walmat. I wished it was Tesco. If I am honest, every time I go to the grocery store I miss the UK. Not for the food or the selection or organization. I miss UK grocery stores, Tesco in particular, because I miss being able to bag my own food. I can honestly say that it is something I had never consciously thought about, but it is so true.

I know this picture is not brilliant, but it was the best one I could find. You bring your basket to the check out. The check out people then scan your items and place them on a conveyor belt to ride to the end of the line where a big(ish) bagging area awaits them. You bag as your items come. once you are finished bagging, you pay and are on your way.

No hassle of 'oh I brought my own bags' and then dealing with the stares and loud, annoyed sighs. No going home to find smashed bread and bruised fruit because the teenage boy bagging your groceries could care less. You get to bag the way you want, with whatever bags you choose. It was easy for me; an easier way than what I deal with at walmat every time I go.

So even though it seems like a random little thing, I miss Tesco and the pleasure it added to my grocery experience being able to bag my own items.

Anyone know of a grocery store around that lets you still bag your own items? Or anyone completely disagree with me and are glad that stores do it for you? Curious your opinions on this.

26 August 2011

almost like a vacation

this past week when have been house sitting for some lovely friends, Brad and Lisa. It has been beyond words wonderful. Not only has eleri enjoyed playing with new toys like toy cars and train sets (they have 2 boys) but we have enjoyed the space to be a family of 3. In reality this is the longest time in 14 months that we have spent in our own space, just the 3 of us. It was heavenly. And even though rhys still had work everyday, it almost felt like a little vacation. Man, I cant wait until we get our own house.

In other news, Eleri had her first day of school!

I have decided to do a mix of at home teaching and 'school.' Looking at eleri's personality, I really feel like she is ready, and wants/needs to be around other kids. This was proven true yesterday when I went to drop her off. I told her goodbye and asked for a hug and kiss. She blew me a kiss then shook her little finger and said 'no mommy, you go. go' then she turned and took off to play. and she never looked back. 5 later when I went to go pick her up? she had been fine all day. no problems at all. Not even any potty accidents. She asked to go each and every time in a totally new environment. even poop! yeah, she is pretty awesome. and evidently, very ready to start exploring some things on her own. I am so proud.

So Tuesday/Thursday the little one will go to school and then Monday/Wednesday/Friday we will do play/hands on learning at home. I am very excited about the start of the new 'school' year and the possibilities ahead for us. As I type this, I am also very grateful that I have a child that is interested in reading/learning/school. Education and academia are very important to me and I am glad that it is something my daughter and I can do together and both enjoy. I feel truly blessed.

speaking of said daughter, she now wants my attention so off i go. Enjoy your weekends!

18 August 2011

18 August 2007

Our Wedding Day.

Year 1 (celebrating in London. Trafalgar Square)

Year 2 (celebrating in Callea, Spain)

Year 3 (celebrating in Paris)

So here's to year 4. I am celebrating 4 years of marriage to the most incredible, most amazing man in the whole world. I thought he was perfect when we met and I still think he is perfect today. I couldn't imagine life without him. Rhys is pretty awesome. Cheers to us!

16 August 2011

a new friend

this little guy

has recently made an appearance in our household. a little penguin that comes in his very own little igloo carrying case seems pretty cute. and it is. except every 4 hours when the little fella has to be filled with medicine and e has to have a breathing treatment.

We have been told before that e has childhood asthma. but we didn't really buy it. I know, awesome parenting to discount what the doctor says. but she never really seemed bothered by it except in rare instances, so we didn't think much of it. But it has flared up again. and her breathing and coughing could not be regulated by anything but our new little penguin friend.

our days (and nights) have been pretty consumed with breathing treatments, mickey mouse and lots of cuddles. we are decreasing the treatments to every 6 hours now, so at least we will all be getting a bit more sleep. hopefully little e will be on the mend soon!

until then, we are off for some more 'penguin medicine' as eleri calls it. bless her.

10 August 2011

a new semester

I have been out of full time school since 2006. Sure I did some school work here and there in London, but all part time. Nothing to warrant truly living by semesters. But yet still do. Live by semesters that is.

As we reach the middle of August, school will welcome students back and the carefree days of summer will draw to a close, I find myself gearing up for a new year. Even though my days are pretty much the same because I only have one child and she is not school aged yet- I still am preparing for a new start.

and it has me thinking...

What it is about semesters that make it so much easier for me to function? Already I am finding it easier to get back into a routine just thinking about the start of school. And no one I know is even going back to school! It is just a nice way to divide up the year, a good time to start again and an easy time to get some resolve.

So with that I have my 'New Semester List' A list of things from August to December that I want to accomplish/learn/do/try etc....

-Learn Calligraphy
-enroll E in football (soccer- the husband wont let me refer to it as anything other than football)
-sand, paint and recover the 2 chairs I got for free
-date night to the Blue Dome
-finally have our own space
-really and truly make a budget and stick to it
-make a headboard for our bed
-save $500 a month
-effectively pack for London in September. NO over packing
-make the 'card' book for rhys
-send monthly packages/pictures to the williams' on the other side of the ocean
-write an article
-get eleri's 2 year pictures
-incorporate Diana into our everyday life (more on Diana later)
-paint a canvas picture with eleri
-make a photo book of the last 3 years
-read 4 books
-plan the Jan/Feb vacation

Perhaps I will add to the list later. or maybe this is how it will stay, but for right now I am excited about the new semester and what is ahead for Team Williams.

2 August 2011

lots of my mind....and my plate

-We have officially purchased a lot! woo hoo for a big piece of land. who knew that one could get so excited over grass and some rocks. Our lot is pretty awesome though. not only does it face a pond and have a giant backyard space- the fact that we have purchased some land means that we are that much closer to actually getting our own space. woo hoo again!

-tickets have been purchased for our return trip to London. Since we originated in the UK when we flew here in April, we had a return back to the UK, but nothing back to America. We have rectified the situation and are now going to London in September and coming back the first week in October. very excited.

-it has been confirmed that we will have a new little niece or nephew the 5th of August. Rhys sister is due and having a c-section on Friday!! it is a surprise as to the sex of the baby so it makes Friday even more exciting. can't wait to see what it is!

- eleri is officially enrolled in school for the fall. we were on some waiting lists and i couldn't decide exactly where i wanted her to go, but it has been settled. she will be going tuesday/thursday all day starting 25 august. I am excited for the time to myself and eleri is excited to go. she asks about it quite often.

-I have recently become obsessed with pinterest. seriously, it takes up way more of my time than it should. But it is just so awesome. and some of the ideas of there are incredible.

-speaking of being obsessed, i have recently become obsessed with this map wall. I have always wanted a big wall of picture frames, but was never sure if it would be family pictures of what. after seeing this, i think it has been decided. This is awesome!! thanks awesome blog I will now obsessively follow!

-Rhys' birthday was yesterday. He is the most awesome person in the world, so he needed an extra awesome birthday present. Last year I gave him Paris as his present. Since it was extremely unrealistic to go to France this year, I gave him Memphis and Rugby instead. This weekend we are headed to Memphis, Tennessee with our good friends Jason and Sarah for the boys to play in a 7's rugby tournament all weekend. Rhys is thrilled. He has never been to Memphis before and he wants to play rugby so badly it hurts. a perfect birthday present!

-i have 3 projects i a working on. ok, 2 that i am really working on a 3rd that i have recently decided to start 'working on' since i discovered the map wall. 1.) refinishing some chairs. 2.) making a giant picture frame/jewelry holder and newly minted 3.) collecting maps. I am excited and it keeps me occupied.

and now the little one is starting to stir so I suppose I better go do the things I actually needed to do before she woke up from her nap.